News

Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara Receive the 2020 Pritzker Architecture Prize

Chicago, IL (March 3, 2020) - Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara of Dublin, Ireland, have been selected as the 2020 Pritzker Prize Laureates, announced Tom Pritzker, Chairman of The Hyatt Foundation, which sponsors the award that is known internationally as architecture’s highest honor.

“Architecture could be described as one of the most complex and important cultural activities on the planet,” remarks Farrell. “To be an architect is an enormous privilege. To win this prize is a wonderful endorsement of our belief in architecture. Thank you for this great honor.”

As architects and educators since the 1970s, Farrell and McNamara create spaces that are at once respectful and new, honoring history while demonstrating a mastery of the urban environment and craft of construction. Balancing strength and delicacy, and upholding a reverence of site-specific contexts, their academic, civic and cultural institutions, as well as housing developments, result in modern and impactful works that never repeat or imitate, but are decidedly of their own architectural voice.

“For their integrity in their approach to both their buildings, as well as the way they conduct their practice, their belief in collaboration, their generosity towards their colleagues, especially as evidenced in such events as the 2018 Venice Biennale, their unceasing commitment to excellence in architecture, their responsible attitude toward the environment, their ability to be cosmopolitan while embracing the uniqueness of each place in which they work, for all these reasons and more, Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara are awarded the 2020 Pritzker Architecture Prize,” states the 2020 Jury Citation, in part.

“Within the ethos of a practice such as ours, we have so often struggled to find space for the implementation of such values as humanism, craft, generosity, and cultural connection with each place and context within which we work. It is therefore extremely gratifying that this recognition is bestowed upon us and our practice and upon the body of work we have managed to produce over a long number of years,” says McNamara. “It is also a wonderful recognition of the ambition and vision of the clients who commissioned us and enabled us to bring our buildings to fruition.”

Their native Ireland, an island replete with mountains and cliffs, informs their acute sensitivities to geography, changing climates and nature in each of their sites. Their buildings consistently remain purposefully rich, yet modest, enhancing cities and lending to sustainability while responding to local needs. University Campus UTEC Lima (Lima, Peru 2015) is located on a challenging site with a highway sunk in a ravine on one side and a residential neighborhood on the other. The result is a vertical and cascading building responding to both site and climatic needs. Its open spaces were designed to deliberately welcome cooling breezes of the ocean and minimize the need for air-conditioning. At the Offices for the Department of Finance (Dublin, Ireland 2009), the selection of local limestone used in thick panels grants strength to the building. Windows recessed or flush with the façade have grills below them to circulate fresh air throughout the building. Exposures on all sides of the building, atypical of the architecture in this city, offer panoramic views.

The architects are continuously conscious of the dialogue between the internal and external, evidenced by the mingling of public and private spaces, and the meaningful selection and integrity of materials. “What we try to do in our work is to be aware of the various levels of citizenship and try to find an architecture that deals with overlap, that heightens your relationship to one another,” illustrates Farrell. Universita Luigi Bocconi (Milan, Italy 2008) fosters community between its occupants and the vibrant city that extends well beyond the vertical campus through its ground floor public space, which continues indoors, and its floating canopy that overlaps the ground below, engaging passersby with students. Université Toulouse 1 Capitole, School of Economics (Toulouse, France 2019) features brick buttresses, ramps and courtyards, which are metaphors for the city filled with bridges, walls, promenades and stone towers. North King Street Housing (Dublin, Ireland 2000) is intentionally void of external design elements to resonate with the restraint of the neighboring warehouses.

“The collaboration between Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara represents a veritable interconnectedness between equal counterparts,” states Pritzker. “They demonstrate incredible strength in their architecture, show deep relation to the local situation in all regards, establish different responses to each commission while maintaining the honesty of their work, and exceed the requirements of the field through responsibility and community.”

Farrell and McNamara have mastered proportion to maintain a human scale and achieve intimate environments within tall and vast buildings. “They have tried, with considerable success, to help us all overcome what is likely to evermore become a serious human problem,” explains Justice Stephen Breyer, Jury Chair. “Namely, how do we build housing and workplaces in a world with over half of its population dwelling in urban environments, and many of them who cannot afford luxury?” A contoured theater floor at the Solstice Arts Centre (Navan, Ireland 2007) creates a physical nearness between audience members and performers. The generous placement of open spaces, windows, glass curtain walls and exposed ceilings allows natural light to filter through a passage of rooms, creating impressions of light through large and small spaces, and within the interlocking areas that compose Institut Mines Télécom in Palaiseau (Paris, France 2019).

McNamara states, “Architecture is a framework for human life. It anchors us and connects us to the world in a way which possibly no other space-making discipline can.” Farrell continues, “At the core of our practice is a real belief that architecture matters. It is a cultural spatial phenomenon that people invent.”

The pair established Grafton Architects in 1978 in Dublin, where they continue to practice and reside. In just over forty years, they have completed nearly as many projects, located in Ireland, the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Peru.

Farrell and McNamara are the 47th and 48th Laureates of the Pritzker Prize, and the first two recipients from Ireland.

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Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara
Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara

For more information about The Pritzker Architecture Prize, please contact:
Eunice Kim
Director of Communications
The Pritzker Architecture Prize
[email protected]

 

 

 

 

 

Images for Download

The following are images of the architecture of Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara.

These images may be downloaded and distributed only in relation to the announcement of Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara being named the 2020 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureates.

The photographer/photo libraries/artists must be credited if noted.

All images are copyright of the respective photographers and artists cited, and courtesy of the Pritzker Architecture Prize.

Click on each image to download a high-resolution file.

Captions for these images are in the 2020 Image Book, available here.
Download the 2020 Media Kit here.

Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara
Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, photo courtesy of Alice Clancy
Urban Institute of Ireland
Urban Institute of Ireland, photo courtesy of Ros Kavanagh
Urban Institute  of Ireland
Urban Institute of Ireland, photo courtesy of Ros Kavanagh
Urban Institute of Ireland
Urban Institute of Ireland, photo courtesy of Ros Kavanagh
Urban Institute of Ireland
Urban Institute of Ireland, photo courtesy of Ros Kavanagh
Urban Institute of Ireland
Urban Institute of Ireland, photo courtesy of Ros Kavanagh
Urban Institute of Ireland
Urban Institute of Ireland, photo courtesy of Ros Kavanagh
Loreto Community School
Loreto Community School, photo courtesy of Ros Kavanagh
Loreto Community School
Loreto Community School, photo courtesy of Ros Kavanagh
Loreto Community School
Loreto Community School, photo courtesy of Ros Kavanagh
Loreto Community School
Loreto Community School, photo courtesy of Ros Kavanagh
Loreto Community School
Loreto Community School, photo courtesy of Ros Kavanagh
Loreto Community School
Loreto Community School, photo courtesy of Ros Kavanagh
Loreto Community School
Loreto Community School, photo courtesy of Ros Kavanagh
Loreto Community School
Loreto Community School, photo courtesy of Ros Kavanagh
Universita Luigi Bocconi
Universita Luigi Bocconi, photo courtesy of Federico Brunetti
Universita Luigi Bocconi
Universita Luigi Bocconi, photo courtesy of Federico Brunetti
Universita Luigi Bocconi
Universita Luigi Bocconi, photo courtesy of Federico Brunetti
Universita Luigi Bocconi
Universita Luigi Bocconi, photo courtesy of Federico Brunetti
Universita Luigi Bocconi
Universita Luigi Bocconi, photo courtesy of Alexandre Soria
Universita Luigi Bocconi
Universita Luigi Bocconi, photo courtesy of Federico Brunetti
Offices for the Department of Finance
Offices for the Department of Finance, photo courtesy of Dennis Gilbert
Offices for the Department of Finance
Offices for the Department of Finance, photo courtesy of Grafton Architects
Offices for the Department of Finance
Offices for the Department of Finance, photo courtesy of Grafton Architects
Offices for the Department of Finance
Offices for the Department of Finance, photo courtesy of Dennis Gilbert
Medical School, University of Limerick
Medical School, University of Limerick, photo courtesy of Dennis Gilbert
Medical School, University of Limerick
Medical School, University of Limerick, photo courtesy of Dennis Gilbert
Medical School, University of Limerick
Medical School, University of Limerick, photo courtesy of Dennis Gilbert
Medical School, University of Limerick
Medical School, University of Limerick, photo courtesy of Dennis Gilbert
Medical School, University of Limerick
Medical School, University of Limerick, photo courtesy of Dennis Gilbert

 

University Campus UTEC Lima
University Campus UTEC Lima, photo courtesy of Iwan Baan
University Campus UTEC Lima
University Campus UTEC Lima, photo courtesy of Iwan Baan
University Campus UTEC Lima
University Campus UTEC Lima, photo courtesy of Iwan Baan
University Campus UTEC Lima
University Campus UTEC Lima, photo courtesy of Iwan Baan
University Campus UTEC Lima
University Campus UTEC Lima, photo courtesy of Iwan Baan
University Campus UTEC Lima
University Campus UTEC Lima, photo courtesy of Iwan Baan
Université Toulouse 1 Capitole, School of Economics
Université Toulouse 1 Capitole, School of Economics, photo courtesy of Dennis Gilbert
Université Toulouse 1 Capitole, School of Economics
Université Toulouse 1 Capitole, School of Economics, photo courtesy of Dennis Gilbert
Université Toulouse 1 Capitole, School of Economics
Université Toulouse 1 Capitole, School of Economics, photo courtesy of Dennis Gilbert
Université Toulouse 1 Capitole, School of Economics
Université Toulouse 1 Capitole, School of Economics, photo courtesy of Dennis Gilbert
Université Toulouse 1 Capitole, School of Economics
Université Toulouse 1 Capitole, School of Economics, photo courtesy of Dennis Gilbert
Université Toulouse 1 Capitole, School of Economics
Université Toulouse 1 Capitole, School of Economics, photo courtesy of Dennis Gilbert
Université Toulouse 1 Capitole, School of Economics
Université Toulouse 1 Capitole, School of Economics, photo courtesy of Dennis Gilbert
Institut Mines Télécom
Institut Mines Télécom, photo courtesy of Grafton Architects
Institut Mines Télécom
Institut Mines Télécom, photo courtesy of Alexandre Soria
Institut Mines Télécom
Institut Mines Télécom, photo courtesy of Alexandre Soria
Institut Mines Télécom
Institut Mines Télécom, photo courtesy of Alexandre Soria
Institut Mines Télécom
Institut Mines Télécom, photo courtesy of Alexandre Soria
Town House Building, Kingston University
Town House Building, Kingston University, photo courtesy of Ed Reeves
Town House Building, Kingston University
Town House Building, Kingston University, photo courtesy of Dennis Gilbert
Town House Building, Kingston University
Town House Building, Kingston University, photo courtesy of Ed Reeves
Town House Building, Kingston University
Town House Building, Kingston University, rendering courtesy of Grafton Architects
Parnell Square Cultural Quarter, City Library
Parnell Square Cultural Quarter, City Library, rendering courtesy of Grafton Architects
Parnell Square Cultural Quarter, City Library
Parnell Square Cultural Quarter, City Library, rendering courtesy of Grafton Architects
Parnell Square Cultural Quarter, City Library
Parnell Square Cultural Quarter, City Library, rendering courtesy of Grafton Architects
Parnell Square Cultural Quarter, City Library
Parnell Square Cultural Quarter, City Library, rendering courtesy of Grafton Architects
London School of Economics and Political Science
London School of Economics and Political Science, photo courtesy of Grafton Architects
London School of Economics and Political Science
London School of Economics and Political Science, rendering courtesy of Grafton Architects
London School of Economics and Political Science
London School of Economics and Political Science, rendering courtesy of Grafton Architects
Medical School, University of Limerick
Medical School, University of Limerick, photo courtesy of Dennis Gilbert

Ceremony Videos

Below are links to view ceremony videos for the Pritzker Architecture Prize.
These videos, featuring full-length and highlight reels, are also available by
visiting the individual Laureate sections.

 

Arata Isozaki
2019 Laureate
Château de Versailles, Versailles, France
Ceremony video

 

Balkrishna Doshi
2018 Laureate
Aga Khan Museum, Toronto, Canada
Ceremony video

 

Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta
2017 Laureates
State Guest House, Akasaka Palace, Tokyo, Japan
Ceremony videos

 

Alejandro Aravena
2016 Laureate
United Nations Headquarters, New York, New York
Ceremony videos

 

Frei Otto
2015 Laureate
The New World Center, Miami Beach, Florida, USA
Ceremony videos

 

Shigeru Ban
2014 Laureate
The Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Ceremony videos
 

Toyo Ito
2013 Laureate
John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum,
Boston, Massachusetts
Ceremony videos

 

Wang Shu
2012 Laureate
The Great Hall of the People, Beijing, 
The People’s Republic of China
Ceremony videos
 

Eduardo Souto de Moura
2011 Laureate
The Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium, Washington D.C.
Ceremony videos

 

Kazuyo Sejima & Ryue Nishizawa
2010 Laureates
Immigration Museum, Ellis Island, New York Bay
Ceremony videos

 

Peter Zumthor
2009 Laureate
Palace of the Buenos Aires City Legislature,
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Ceremony videos
 

Jean Nouvel
2008 Laureate
The Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
Ceremony videos

 

Richard Rogers
2007 Laureate
Banqueting House, Whitehall Palace, London, United Kingdom
Ceremony videos

 

Paulo Mendes da Rocha
2006 Laureate
Dolmabahçe Palace, Istanbul, Turkey
Ceremony videos


Thom Mayne
2005 Laureate
Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park, Chicago, Illinois
Ceremony videos


Zaha Hadid
2004 Laureate
State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia
Ceremony videos


Jørn Utzon
2003 Laureate
Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando, Madrid, Spain
Ceremony videos


Glenn Murcutt
2002 Laureate
Michelangelo’s Campidoglio, Rome, Italy
Ceremony videos

 

Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron
2001 Laureates
Monticello, Charlottesville, Virginia
Ceremony videos


Rem Koolhaas
2000 Laureate
Jerusalem Archaeological Park, Israel
Ceremony videos


Norman Foster
1999 Laureate
Altes Museum, Berlin, Germany
Ceremony videos

 

 

 

 


Renzo Piano
1998 Laureate
The White House, Washington, D.C.
Ceremony videos

 

Sverre Fehn
1997 Laureate
The construction site of the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain
Ceremony videos

 

Rafael Moneo
1996 Laureate
The construction site of the Getty Center, Los Angeles, California
Ceremony videos
 

Tadao Ando
1995 Laureate
Grand Trianon and the Palace of Versailles, France
Ceremony videos

 

Christian de Portzamparc
1994 Laureate
The Commons, Columbus, Indiana
Ceremony videos

 

Fumihiko Maki
1993 Laureate
Prague Castle, Czech Republic
Ceremony videos
 

Alvaro Siza
1992 Laureate
Harold Washington Library Center, Chicago, Illinois
Ceremony videos

 

Robert Venturi
1991 Laureate
Palacio de Iturbide, Mexico City, Mexico
Ceremony videos

 

Aldo Rossi
1990 Laureate
Palazzo Grassi, Venice, Italy
Ceremony videos

 

Frank Gehry
1989 Laureate
Todai-ji Buddhist Temple, Nara, Japan
Ceremony videos

 

Gordon Bunshaft &
Oscar Niemeyer
1988 Laureates
Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois
Bunshaft ceremony videos
Niemeyer ceremony videos

 

Kenzo Tange
1987 Laureate
Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, Texas
Ceremony videos

 

Gottfried Böhm
1986 Laureate
Goldsmiths’ Hall, London, United Kingdom
Ceremony videos

 

Hans Hollein
1985 Laureate
Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens
San Marino, California
Ceremony videos

 

Richard Meier
1984 Laureate
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
Ceremony videos

 

I.M. Pei
1983 Laureate
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York
Ceremony videos

 

Kevin Roche
1982 Laureate
Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois
Ceremony videos

 

James Stirling
1981 Laureate
National Building Museum, Washington, D.C.
Ceremony videos

 

Luis Barragán
1980 Laureate
Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, D.C.
Ceremony videos

 

Philip Johnson
1979 Laureate
Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, D.C.
Ceremony videos

Archive

The Pritzker Architecture Prize, founded in 1979, seeks to maintain many of the documents, images, videos, and other materials related to its history. If you have a specific query about rights and reproductions or other media-related questions, please contact Director of Communications Eunice Kim. For all other inquiries, please contact Executive Director Martha Thorne.

Archive - Richard Rogers
Terminal 4, Madrid Barajas Airport, Madrid, Spain, 2005, Richard Rogers